Dr. Tom Ferguson, R.I.P.

//www.quitsmoking.com/images/books/nonag/fergusonpic.jpg' cannot be displayed] Tom Ferguson Dies at 62 (New York Times ). I met Tom Ferguson, who graduated from Yale Medical School two years before I entered, only once when I had the honor of inviting him back to Yale to give a talk to my medical student class. But I have followed his career closely and feel this as a personal loss. Ferguson, who never had a private practice and once said he had “saved hundreds of lives by not practicing clinical medicine”, was a fierce advocate of self-help and empowerment of medical consumers, an ethos I have tried to import into my psychiatric work. He was closely associated with the Whole Earth Catalog and -Review cabal and founded and edited the ‘spin-off’ journal Medical Self Care (1979-85). He was probably the closest thing the U.S. health care establishment ever saw to the Chinese barefoot doctor tradition. He was a mercurial and infectiously genial man and his premature death is a loss for the entire medical establishment, which needed him now more than when he burst into its ranks thirty years ago.